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  • Val T.

E. Howdeshell gets 2 hits, but Dafforn pitches Whitko past Rochester

Knutson’s catch on Coleman liner key as Lady Wildcats reach sectional final


Sports Editor, RTC

WABASH — Ella Walter capped a four-run third inning with a two-run double, and Maddie Dafforn pitched a six-hitter with eight strikeouts to lead the Whitko softball team to a 4-2 win over Rochester Tuesday.

Emma Howdeshell

Whitko improved to 8-12. Rochester finished 10-11.

Emma Howdeshell had two hits for the Lady Zs, and Emma Sells, Kylie Coleman, Sydney Haughs and Darah Strasser had one hit each.

Howdeshell’s second hit of the night was an infield single deep in the hole on the left side in the bottom of the seventh, and it moved to Emma Sells to second base.

That brought up Kylie Coleman representing the winning run. She fell behind 1-2. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat, she crushed a fly ball that had home run distance but was well foul.

On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Dafforn struck out Coleman to end the game.

That might not have been the most important outcome of a Coleman at-bat.

With runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the third and Rochester trailing 4-0, Coleman crunched a liner to deep left field, but Whitko left fielder Kaycee Knutson made a diving catch to end the inning and possibly prevent two runs from scoring.

Whitko committed six errors in a 7-6 loss to Rochester in their regular season meeting on April 21. They had only one error this time.

Knutson’s catch started a streak of nine consecutive batters retired by Dafforn.

With two outs in the sixth, Coleman broke that streak when she reached on an infield single that took a sideways spin on the right side of the diamond and dribbled past Dafforn. Sydney Haughs walked, but Dafforn got Maddie Heinzmann to ground to short to end the inning.

After committing errorless ball for six innings, Whitko committed their first error on Mia Howdeshell’s grounder to short to start the seventh. Haley Durkes bunted Mia Howdeshell to second.

Darah Strasser’s bloop double to left-center moved courtesy runner Keyton Doran to third.

Kallie Watson’s RBI grounder to first scored Doran and moved Strasser to third to make it 4-1. Sells then hit a grounder that second baseman Addie Garr knocked down, but her throw from the prone position to try and get Sells was late for an RBI infield single.

Emma Howdeshell’s hit added to the drama.

Whitko scored all four of their runs in the top of the third. In the inning, Whitko bunted twice, and Rochester did not record an out on either of them.

The rally started with Brooklyn Sizemore’s one-out walk off Mia Howdeshell. Gigi Wilson laid down a sacrifice bunt, and when the throw to try and get her at first was in the dirt for an error, Sizemore advanced to third.

Guinny Garr’s RBI single to left made it 1-0 and moved Wilson to second. Madison Cripe laid down a bunt. The Rochester fielder tried to tag Cripe as she ran down the first baseline. The umpires conferred and determined that there was no tag. It was a bunt single, and the bases were loaded.

Addie Garr hit a grounder to shortstop that Emma Howdeshell charged and threw to first for an out, but Wilson scored.

Walter then roped a two-run double to right-center that made it 4-0.

Mia Howdeshell then followed with four scoreless innings. Whitko got the leadoff hitter on base in the fourth and fifth innings but did not score in either.

She pitched a four-hitter with three walks, two hit batters and three strikeouts.

Dafforn pitched a six-hitter with three walks and eight strikeouts. None of her three walks came around to score.

Whitko avenged a 7-6 loss to Rochester on April 21 in TRC play.

In Tuesday’s second semifinal, Lewis Cass eliminated Wabash 10-2. Whitko and Lewis Cass will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the sectional final.

Whitko 4, Rochester 2

Whitko 004 000 0 – 4 4 1

Rochester 000 000 2 – 2 6 2

WP – Maddie Dafforn (7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)

LP – Mia Howdeshell (7 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 3 K)

2B – Ella Walter (WHI), Sydney Haughs (RHS), Darah Strasser (RHS)

Watch Full Game Here:

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